This year’s recipients of the notable College of Arts and Sciences’ award are especially distinct, the chair of the award committee notes
Seventeen exceptional undergraduates are this year’s recipients of the Jacob Van Ek scholarship, one of the College of Arts and Sciences’ highest honors.
The award recognizes faculty-nominated students who display superior academic achievement and service to the University of Colorado Boulder, the Denver and Boulder communities, or larger national and international communities. A five-person faculty committee selects the winners, who receive a $250 award and a certificate of recognition.
“The Van Ek Award is one of the most distinctive undergraduate awards on the Boulder campus,” says Nina L. Molinaro, professor of Spanish and chair of the award committee.
“The Van Ek Selection Committee takes into consideration the GPAs and academic honors of the nominees, along with the range and depth of service contributions with which the nominees are associated. These include unpaid and paid community service activities, unpaid and paid extracurricular department and university activities and work experience.”
The winners of the Van Ek Scholar Awards for 2021 managed, under very difficult circumstances, to excel academically and to contribute enormous service to incredibly diverse groups."
The award is named for Jacob Van Ek (1896-1994), who was among a generation of faculty who shaped CU Boulder in the 20th century. Called “the boy dean” by students for his relative youth, Van Ek helped build the university’s reputation for academic excellence, intellectual freedom and tolerance.
He established programs for academically talented students, creating one of the nation’s first honors programs, and vigorously defended members of untenured faculty who were fired for holding unpopular views.
Molinaro notes that the achievements of this year’s winners are especially distinct, given the challenges of the past year.
“The winners of the Van Ek Scholar Awards for 2021 managed, under very difficult circumstances, to excel academically and to contribute enormous service to incredibly diverse groups, and among them university organizations, professional organizations, nonprofit groups, national organizations and many more.”
The following students are this year’s Jacob Van Ek Scholar Award recipients:
- Ava Begun, speech, language and hearing sciences
- Taylor Fahey, speech, language and hearing sciences
- Skylar Fendrick, speech, language and hearing sciences
- Margaret Friesen, women and gender studies
- Taylor Hirschberg, sociology
- Kavya Kannan, economics, political science and international affairs
- Emily Majluf, astrophysical and planetary sciences
- Elizabeth Mather, political science and international affairs
- Izi Moss, molecular, cellular and developmental biology
- Maisa Nammari, linguistics
- Kiar Rickert, sociology and women and gender studies
- Sarah Schleifer, English
- Gaby Solano Serna, Spanish
- Nadyah Spahn, international affairs
- Elizabeth Stanton, environmental studies and international affairs
- Luke Walther, chemistry and mathematics
- Zhiyu (Philippe) Yao, astrophysical and planetary sciences